Making Sense of Chuck Hagel

A new word may be emerging from the Senate halls.  The word, a noun, is “Hagel-ling”.  It describes a process where a minority party recklessly exercises a historic Senate privilege and blocks a Presidential nomination with no job performance grounds.

“Hagel-ling” continues a practice which gained momentum beginning in 2009 called “No-ing”.  This practice calls for the President’s opposition to simply say “No” to anything and everything the President proposes.

Both practices gain character when the invokers wear an American Flag lapel pin.  Looking a television camera straight on, the “No” sayer says, “the American people don’t want this, they want …. whatever.”

Who said English was a dead language?

To put “Hagel-ling” and “No-ing” is a fuller context, one should try to answer the following four questions:

  • Which Country spends more (twice as much as most) other countries on health care, does not include everyone in health care coverage, and accepts a system that delivers mediocre health care outcomes?
  • Which Country spends more per student on K-12 education than any other country (except Switzerland), and produces students whose standardized test scores are mediocre?
  • Which Country spends more money on Defense than any other country, almost as much as all other countries combined?
  • Which Country imprisons more citizens than any other country with little or no impact upon crime rates?

The answer to all four question is the United States of America.

The US finds itself in a peculiar spot.

  • The Federal budget is chronically unbalanced.
  • Most experts point to a shortage of educated and skilled workers to fill current and future jobs.
  • Defense spending bares little resemblance to imminent threats and a lot more commonality to Congressional districts.
  • Prison populations keep rising as well as the budgets to house more prisoners per capita than any place in the world.  Why is the US so law un-abiding?

Frankly, I am not sure of why “No-ing” and “Hagel-ling” have come into existence.  Their practice solves nothing and does not advance greater understanding of any issues.

I am pretty sure, however, that the “why” answer lies close to the answer to why our nation is not up in arms over these four questions.  How can America sit by and waste so much money on health care, education, defense, and prisons, and then lament the nation’s Federal budget deficit?

Just maybe, if we try to make sense of the Chuck Hagel situation, we can stumble on the much larger set of problems, fully in our control, which continue to drift along with or without Chuck Hagel.  We elected the members of Congress!

The continued rejection of looking at data, comparing worldwide, and then making decisions in the nation’s best interest is hard to understand.  Maybe Chuck can help us find the way.

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5 Comments on “Making Sense of Chuck Hagel”

  1. FLPatriot Says:

    1. Which Country spends more (twice as much as most) other countries on health care, does not include everyone in health care coverage, and accepts delivers mediocre health care outcomes? This one is tough. I thought it was the US, but then you say “does not include everyone in health care coverage”, but every citzen in the US has access to healthcare no matter their ability to pay. So what country is the answer?

    2. Which Country spends more per student on K-12 education than any other country (except Switzerland), and produces students whose standardized test scores are mediocre? Ok, this one is the US. I guess we need to look at the lack of skill in our teachers and stop worrying about wasting more money on education.

    3. Which Country spends more money on Defense than any other country, almost as much as all other countries combined? The US and it is a good thing we do. How else could we supply President Obama with enough drones so he can bomb all those countries. How else can we maintain a fighting force big enouhg so President Obama can send them to so many different countries.

    4. Which Country imprisons more citizens than any other country with little or no impact upon crime rates? I am going to guess the US, but your question is a bit odd. Oh well, guess thats what you can expect from someone with a government education (as described in Q2)


    • FL, if a mother takes her two children to a doctor for a check up or for what ever, the cost is covered… she may pay a co-pay but is never denied service. This is called preventive medicine and it is the least expensive method to maintain good health…

      In the US the same thing can happen, but only if the women has money in her pocket or has insurance… No insurance, no money,… no health care… The Emergency Room is not a substitute.

      The US is the only country that spends the most, doesn’t cover everyone, and provides on average mediocre health care

      • FLPatriot Says:

        The truth is that in the US you can see a doctor, in their office, for $30-$50. For most preventive exams with blood work you can spend $200. If a parent says that can’t afford that to help keep their kids healthy they are lying.

        But worst case, lets say you can’t. Then there are numerous free clinics operated by Churches and other non-profits that you can see.

        It’s just lazy to say that you either need to have medical insurance or some government plan to take care of your health needs. There is no excuse for someone to go without medical treatment.

        And before you cry about catastrophic medical events that can bankrupt a family. Hospitals work on a payment system and can not turn someone away for lack of ability to pay. Besides, insurance to cover those extreme cases is cheap, you only need to stop buying cigarettes and you can afford it for a family of four.

        If people actually paid for their own health care instead of letting some large insurance company or faceless bureaucrats do it for them, the price of health care would drop like a rock. It’s about personal responsibility, the most hated phrase among Democrats/Progressives/Liberals/Socialists and all other groups on the left..


  2. FL, I have heard others voice similar opinions… but they are usually not ones who actually buy health care insurance or pay for it out of pocket… They are almost always someone who receives their coverage via an employer so they only pay a fraction of the actual cost and experience no tax liability…

    I do think you have a point about “skin in the game”… and rich, no co-pay, no deductible health care policies lead to a lot of waste… paying something has a ring of common sense.

    But the larger question which you have not acknowledged is that at least 17 other modern countries spend half or less per capita for health care and experience better outcomes on average… These are all universal type health care plans where there are co-pays, and tax based funding. The question of whether all residents will have access to the same basic health care is never in question…

    The US. of course, has some big challenges for health care… Smoking, life style choices, and basic lack of preventive medicine coupled with “fee of service” have made our doctors over paid, hospitals too expensive, and drug companies rich.


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